I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery by Dorothy St. James on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down the page to enter the Giveaway for your chance to win this delectable treat!
In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)
Hardcover: 350 Pages
Digital ASIN: B078M3N9TC
In Dorothy St. James’s third delectable Southern Chocolate Shop mystery, a new batch of chocolate and troubles of the heart cause a string of disasters for the Chocolate Box’s new owner, Charity Penn.
The vintage seaside town of Camellia Beach, South Carolina seems like the perfect place for romance with its quiet beach and its decadent chocolate shop that serves the world’s richest dark chocolates. The Chocolate Box’s owner, Charity Penn, falls even further under the island’s moonlit spell as she joins Althea Bays and the rest of the turtle watch team to witness a new generation of baby sea turtles hatch and make their way into the wide ocean.
Before the babies arrive, gunshots ring out in the night. Cassidy Jones, the local Casanova, is found dead in the sand with his lover Jody Dalton—the same woman who has vowed to destroy the Chocolate Box—holding the gun. It’s an obvious crime of passion, or so everyone believes. But when Jody’s young son pleads with Penn to bring his mother back to him, she can’t say no. She dives headfirst into a chocolate swirl of truth and lies and must pick through an assortment of likely (and sometimes unsavory) suspects before it’s too late for Penn and for those she loves in Dorothy St. James’s third rich installment of the Southern Chocolate Shop mysteries, In Cold Chocolate.
Camellia Beach, SC is definitely heating up. It’s August and the baby sea turtle nests are set to start hatching under the watchful eyes of the local sea turtle rescue volunteers. Charity Penn, owner of the Chocolate Box, is excited to join her best buddy, Althea, to watch for the hatching. Unfortunately, they end up in the crossfire of some deadly shooting, wounding Penn, and sending Jody Dalton to jail for the murder of Cassidy Jones. Jody is caught, dead to rights (so to speak) with not one but two smoking guns. Open and shut case, right? Sure looks that way, but Jody is the mother of Gavin, the son of her new heartthrob, Harley Dalton, and she promises Gavin she’ll have her mother out of jail before school starts. Uh oh…
Okay, this is the third in the series but could be viewed as a standalone as there was enough fleshing of the protagonist to learn who she is. Harley just a little less so. It’s one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone else’s business and not all the townspeople are strong supporters of Ms. Penn. Her heritage has been called to question and she is currently in a legal fight to settle once and for all the inheritance from her grandmother(?) Mabel which included the Chocolate Box.
In the meantime, Penn has poured her heart and soul into learning the business and remodeling, rehabbing, the building. She is building a strong and faithful customer base and has introduced a few new ideas to the shop, which apparently also allows coffee drinks. Her grandmother (if she is truly that) had a partner, Bertie Bays, Althea’s mother and Penns roommate, who is valiantly trying to teach Penn the recipes for the exceptional Amar chocolate beans they use for their delicious dark confections.
Granted, there is a lot going on in this narrative, and some of it slows the well-plotted mystery. The victim is someone so despised that most of the town is probably happy to see him gone and doesn’t really care who is responsible. Harley and his son share the apartment upstairs next door to Penn and Bertie and Harley is also the attorney representing Penn.
There are a number of minor or support characters who round out the population of this small coastal town with a proximity to Charleston. The scenes are described well-enabling visions of the seaside community and the information on the sea turtles interesting. There is a sub-subplot going on with her little insecure five-pound black, brown, and white snappy papillon she was given by her ex that needs a LOT of training and all the training seems to include a box load of treats. (Seems to me half the time the dog is being rewarded for bad behavior, but he does make some successful progress through the novel.)
What appeared to be annoying on the surface, that of a 37-year-old woman abandoned as a child, damaged and flawed protagonist, raised by uncaring and abusive adults, who is constantly battling negative thoughts serves as an epiphany when you finally get inside her head for that ah ha comprehending moment. Maybe she is justified in being who she is! There were sympathetic characters and nasty relatives. Lots of little hints and it wasn’t too hard to figure out the antagonist. As the twists hit, as they inevitably must, they fly in the face of what you expected and actually were a surprise, including the big one at the conclusion–most satisfying.
There is some lag in the middle, and a surprising number of edit misses including missing words (or duplicates) and sentence structure problems. I was given this download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for any who love small town southern-based cozies, chocolates (including recipes), dogs, and the saga of the sea turtles.
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Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
Mystery author Dorothy St. James was raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, a neurotic dog, and a fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.
Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.
* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”
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Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!
September 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
September 12 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 12 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW
September 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
September 13 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 14 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
September 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
September 15 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 15 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT
September 16 – Readeropolis – RECIPE
September 16 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
September 17 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – RECIPE
September 18 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
September 18 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 19 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
September 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
September 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
September 20 – Mysteries with Character – RECIPE
September 21 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
September 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 21 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
September 22 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW
September 22 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
September 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
September 23 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 24 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
September 24 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 24 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 24 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
September 25 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
September 25 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
September 25 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
Thanks to the publisher, NetGalley, and Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery! ©2018 V Williams